An American Girl Afternoon

After a Star Wars program and some Angry Birds fun, we thought maybe we should have a girlier program, whatever that means. We set about planning a non-tea American Girl program. I say "non-tea" because that seems to be the library AG program of choice, but with a drop-in format and a "no food" rule, a tea simply wouldn't fly.
We invited school age patrons to bring their dolls with them and several did. For those not lucky enough to afford such a doll, we offered a copyright free paper doll printed on card stock to decorate with colored pencils and fabric scraps. Even those who brought a doll had fun making a paper version, and I was glad I included some boy dolls as we had maybe half a dozen young men join us.
We displayed nonfiction titles that patrons might not be as familiar with and for once, books were actually checked out as a direct result of a program! We borrowed a couple dolls from staff to display. One was even a retired girl, so it was fun for everyone to see. Running on our projector was a slide show adapted from the American Girl website, with an illustration and fun facts about each of the characters. It was fun to hear attendees get excited when their doll came up.
The most popular activity was a matching bracelet set for guests and their dolls. American Girl dolls have a 3 1/2 inch wrist, FYI. We set out elastic, pony beads, and letters beads. We asked folks to use initials rather than full names to conserve limited supplies and with just one package we were fine.
We put out hand mirrors and hair elastics along with a couple simple hairstyle tutorials from the American Girl magazine. Some girls did their friend's hair, some did their doll's hair, and others had mom help do their own hair.
On the same table was a set of AG personality quizzes, also from the magazine. Not very popular. We pulled in our hopscotch rug and posted the traditional rules as a historical tie-in, but again, not very popular.
The final element was a photo prop, a box painted like a real American Girl doll box. Kids could step inside while their parents snapped a photo of their precious little one as a real live American Girl doll on their ubiquitous camera phones.
I was worried there wasn't enough to do, but we had about 70 people and they stayed between 20 and 60 minutes. Success!

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